Quantcast
Connect with us

Focus on Islamists let other extremists go under radar

Published

on

Security services in Norway and elsewhere in the region had recently shifted their focus to Islamist extremism, letting other forms of terror slip under the radar, experts said.

While there had been initial fears that Friday’s twin attacks might have been an act of revenge for Norway’s participation in the campaigns in Afghanistan and Libya, everything changed when it emerged the suspect was a native Norwegian.

ADVERTISEMENT

Named by media as Anders Behring Breivik, the alleged killer has been described by police as a “fundamentalist Christian” whose political opinions leaned “to the right.” He had also been a member of the populist right-wing Progress Party (FrP) and was a member of a Swedish neo-Nazi Internet forum.

For some, the suspect is an example of far-right extremism, which has got less attention while intelligence agencies concentrated on radical Islam.

For others, such as Daniel Poohl of Sweden’s Expo foundation, a leading group in monitoring far-right activity across Scandinavia, he is representative of a new kind of terrorism fuelled by anti-Muslim sentiment.

The manifesto Behring Breivik posted online showed his act was prompted by a hatred of Islam, Poohl told AFP, and in that respect he differs from extremists in violent far-right groups.

ADVERTISEMENT

In a report published earlier this year, Norway’s intelligence agency said that far-right extremists existed in Norway, but that they had “barely been active in recent years.”

“However, the trend that saw an increased level of activity in 2010 is expected to continue in 2011,” the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST)’s annual threat assessment report read.

But the PST noted that “as in previous years, the far-right and far-left extremist communities will not represent a serious threat to Norwegian society in 2011.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“The lack of strong leadership limits the growth of these groups,” it said.

Instead, it said it was “primarily” Islamist extremists “who could pose a direct threat to Norway in the year ahead.”

Robert Oerell of Sweden’s Exit foundation, which helps those who wish to leave nationalist, racist and Nazi-oriented groups and movements, said that the focus on Islamist radicals had favoured far-right extremists.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It justifies their perception that the Nordic people are under threat from Islamists,” he told news agency TT.

Matthew Goodwin, a lecturer at the University of Nottingham in England and an expert on far-right groups, agreed that the focus on Islamist extremism had let other extremists go neglected.

“For the past decade our (British) security services have been heavily geared towards Al-Qaeda and Northern Ireland, which has left a real gap in their coverage of the far-right,” he told AFP.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Scandinavian countries have also been involved in Afghanistan and Iraq and their security services have the same problem,” he said.

Oerell said he was surprised by the twin bomb and gun attacks, which killed at least 92 people, including 85 shot dead at a summer youth camp organised by the ruling Labour Party.

“My understanding of the Norwegian movements is that they are not as organised or large as the Swedish ones, which have more capacity for violence, so from that point of view I am surprised,” he told AFP.

ADVERTISEMENT

“On the other hand, I am not surprised that, according to the information I have, a single person acted on their own, and then we can recall Timothy McVeigh case, whose example has mobilised such people in the extreme right movements before,” he said.

“Timothy McVeigh is still seen by some groups in the US as a hero,” agreed Goodwin.

“As soon as I heard about Norway I thought this would be the far-right, so on that level it is not a surprise. I would not necessarily say it was brewing but we have seen a few trends pointing towards it,” he told AFP.

ADVERTISEMENT

Expo said Saturday Behring Breivik was a member of a 22,000-strong Swedish Nazi Internet forum called Nordisk.

The forum includes posts inciting to violence and threads on the Turner Diaries, a 1978 novel about a violent revolution in the United States which inspired McVeigh’s 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, according to Expo.

Discussions on the site website are “often of a racist nature,” Expo said, and range “from everything from white power music to political strategies to crush democracy,” Expo said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The attacks on Friday afternoon were western Europe’s deadliest since the 2004 Madrid bombings, carried out by Al-Qaeda.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Trump campaign mocked after unveiling new red hats: ‘Do you have arm bands as well?’

Published

on

President Donald Trump's 2016 "Make America Great Again" hats have been replaced with new "Keep America Great" hats.

Trump re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale modeled one of the hats on Twitter.

Here is some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/LazarusLeBaron/status/1165430924093165568

Here I made an arm band design for you pic.twitter.com/inTyqVi2wo

— Christopher Goodwin (@LazarusLeBaron) August 25, 2019

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘This will not end well’: Far-right extremism expert warns of Trump’s intensifying authoritarianism

Published

on

An expert on the far-right in America warned of President Donald Trump's "genuinely dangerous levels" of authoritarianism on Saturday.

Author David Neiwert posted a long Twitter thread on the commander-in-chief's "Social Dominance Orientation" -- and warned it will not end well.

Neiwert is the author of the 2017 book Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.

Here is the thread he posted:

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428067138846720

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428524808724480

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165429018486702081

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Ilhan Omar trolls GOP lawmakers ‘losing their minds’ over sharing the House floor with three Muslim Democrats

Published

on

One of the first Muslim women elected to Congress trolled her GOP colleagues for "losing their minds" over the existence of three Muslims in the House of Representatives.

The three Muslims in Congress are Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Rep. André Carson (D-IN), with Omar and Tlaib being the first to Muslim women in the body

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) worried about the "growing influence" during an appearance on a local radio station.

Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan posted a link to the interview on Twitter, calling it "open bigotry."

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
HELP US UNCOVER CORRUPTION!
close-link
close-image